CAIR April Fools: Defendant in 9/11 terror lawsuit holds peace and justice event
March 31, 2006
By Joe Kaufman
Once every year, CAIR or the Council on American-Islamic Relations gathers its followers in various ‘hot spots' around the nation to raise money and flaunt its homemade status as a "civil liberties group," in an attempt to convince the world that they are something which they are not. This year's annual banquet in Florida will fall fittingly on April 1st or April Fools. The title of the event is ‘Partners for Peace & Justice.'
The keynote speaker for this weekend's event will be David Cole. Cole is a professor at Georgetown University Law Center, a board member of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Legal Affairs Correspondent for the publication, The Nation. As an attorney, he has been involved in a number of high profile cases. This includes United States v. Eichman, which established that the First Amendment allows for the burning of the American flag.
Cole also played the role of lead counsel for terror operative, Mazen Al-Najjar. Following a 1997 deportation order for overstaying his student visa, Al-Najjar was jailed as a potential threat to the United States public. In July, 2001, after a hard fought court battle, Cole and his legal team lost a federal appeal, thereby denying Al-Najjar asylum. In August of 2002, he was deported to Lebanon. [Al-Najjar would later be named as a co-defendant in the trial against his brother-in-law, Sami Al-Arian.]
Weighing in on the Al-Najjar case was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which stated, in a May 2002 press release: "Mazen Al Najjar has never been charged with a crime, yet he has spent more than four years behind bars, first on secret evidence that he had no chance to rebut, and for the last six months on no evidence of dangerousness whatsoever." But at the time, according to the Department of Justice, Al-Najjar "had established ties to terrorist organizations and held leadership positions in the Tampa-based Islamic Concern Project (ICP) and the World and Islam Studies Enterprise," groups founded by Al-Arian.
This was not the first instance of the ACLU being wrong about those that fall under the inglorious title of ‘radical Islamist,' and it seems that the group is continuing the trend, now with the appointment of a leader of CAIR to its ranks.
In a CAIR press release, dated March 8, 2006, the group announced to the world that its National Board Chairman, Parvez Ahmed, had been elected to the board of the ACLU of Florida. In the past, the ACLU had participated in events with the group and had even ‘locked arms' in legal actions with CAIR, but never had it gone so far as to take one of its leaders into its ranks. About his new position, Ahmed, who is also a speaker at the April 1st fundraising dinner, stated: "American Muslims view the protection of civil liberties as one of the most important issues facing our nation today. By working with the ACLU in Florida, I hope to strengthen constitutional rights and help balance those rights with legitimate national security concerns."
Ahmed's reason for making that statement – and for getting involved with the ACLU – is apparent. Since CAIR has been in existence, it has lost a Civil Rights Coordinator, a fundraiser, a Director of Community Relations, and a founding Director of its Texas Chapter, all through conviction or deportation. CAIR is currently the defendant in a lawsuit put forward by the family of an FBI agent for his murder, during the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center. Bringing Ahmed into its organization, the ACLU gives CAIR the legitimacy it both craves and needs to survive.
For Parvez Ahmed, it's just one more step on his quick rise to power. Ahmed, who is an assistant professor at the University of North Florida, became CAIR's Chairman of the Board in May of 2005. He previously served as Board Chairman for the Florida Chapter of CAIR and as a CAIR National Board member. In addition to this, Ahmed incorporated – in Jacksonville, Florida, where he resides – CAIR's now defunct Independent Writers Syndicate (IWS). According to CAIR, the syndicate was created, because "after 9/11… newspapers became hungry for input from Muslims." The service would "distribute original commentaries to newspapers and web sites throughout North America." Unfortunately, there were problems with many of the writers. They included:
Parvez Ahmed has written some disturbing things in his own right. In December of 2005, he called for the release of terrorist Sami Al-Arian, in his op-ed entitled, ‘Al-Arian Verdict a Victory for Common Sense.' Al-Arian had been the North American leader of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, an organization that carries out suicide operations against innocent Israelis. Al-Arian had also been involved with CAIR's parent organization, a Hamas-front called the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP). Ahmed stated, "The Justice Department should respect this sentiment and the verdict reached by Al-Arian's peers by releasing him so that he may resume a normal life, or as close to normal as possible after such an ordeal." Furthermore, Ahmed laments, in the piece, that "the government may retry him on the charges for which the jury could not reach a decision."
Most of the time, though, Ahmed is smart and tries to put a positive spin on matters that would concern most Americans. In his August 2005 article entitled, ‘A moderate Muslim way to counter terrorism,' he agrees with the rationale that says suicide bombings have "little to do with the teachings of any religion but [are] rather a response… designed to compel the retreat of an occupation force." He says that "Islam… allows for defensive war against combatants but unequivocally forbids the killing of civilians."
However, to Hamas – the organization that CAIR was born out of – targeting civilians is justified, because all Israelis serve in the military. And the Hamas charter states explicitly that Israel must be destroyed by religious means. According to the charter: "Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam witll obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it… It is necessary to instill the spirit of Jihad in the heart of the nation so that they would confront the enemies and join the ranks of the fighters… It is necessary to instill in the minds of the Moslem generations that the Palestinian problem is a religious problem, and should be dealt with on this basis."
CAIR would not be around, if it weren't for the fact that so many are willing to buy into the group's ‘dog and pony show.' With CAIR, the horrors of terrorism and destruction disappear like magic. Except that they're not really gone. We're just made to think they are. This April Fools, once again, CAIR will attempt their magic act on the world. And they'll even throw in a comedian for good measure. If we fall for this act, the real fool is us.